''The Werley Boys'' by John Pesta on Smashwords

The Werley Boys,” a short story by John Pesta about two cranky brothers who won't give up their beloved outhouse, is now available as an e-book from the bookseller Smashwords. It can be read easily on all major e-book devices including iPad, iPhone, Kindle and others. At 99 cents, it's priced to sell.

We're thrilled about this short-story publishing experiment ~ please take a moment to check it out. The cover illustration is, as always, by Maureen.

Click below to read an excerpt from the short story.

John, Maureen, Jesse and Abigail
The Fine Words Butter No Parsnips Team

“The Werley Boys,” a short story by John Pesta ~ an excerpt

“I hate to bring this up again,” Phyllis Perry, the clerk-treasurer, told the town board, “but the Werleys still haven’t hooked onto the sewer.”

Lloyd McCutcheon, a heavyset man in his early forties and the most outspoken member of the board, smacked his hands on the table and shook his head. “What do we have to do?” He twisted halfway around in his chair to face the town marshal, Clifford Lee, who was sitting directly behind him in the hallway, just outside the small meeting room. “You went down there and talked to them again, didn’t you, Clifford?”

“Yes, sir, I sure did,” the marshal answered.

“What’d they say?”

“Same as last time,” Clifford said in his slow southern-Indiana drawl, which was followed by a brief pause. “Said they been livin’ there goin’ on eighty years without a sewer and can’t see why they need one now.” He sounded as if he had half a mind to agree with the Werleys. Past retirement age himself, his thin craggy face was topped by a long, sloping forehead and a few strands of whitish-gray hair combed across it.

“Did you tell them about the new ordinance?” Lloyd demanded. “Do they understand they can be fined for every day they don’t hook up?”

“Yes, sir. I explained all that.” Clifford paused again. His habit of stopping between sentences annoyed some people, including Lloyd. “Jasper said we can fine them as much as we want to, but we can’t get blood out of a stone.” He snickered, holding something back, then letting it go: “He said I was a communist. Nobody’s ever called me that before. He said we’re all a buncha communists up here.”

Everyone at the table got a laugh out of this, but Lloyd’s laugh quickly turned into a scowl as he shifted back around and inhaled loudly through his nose. “We’ve got to do something about this,” he said, letting his breath out. “Those two old buzzards are making fools out of us. I mean, is this an incorporated town or what? If we let them keep that outhouse of theirs, we might as well let everybody in town do whatever they please.”

“There you go!” said Jack Purlee, a jowly board member whose eyes grew large and round whenever he had something to say. “True democracy. I love it.” He had an ironic manner, and it was sometimes hard to tell if he meant what he said.

Phyllis regarded Lloyd and Jack as a couple of blowhards. ...